Lane-splitting is not common in most of the country, but it is in California because it is legal. Even if you are unfamiliar with the term, you have likely witnessed motorcyclists driving down the center line between two lanes of traffic. California allows lane-splitting to reduce congestion. However, in this context, motorcyclists as well as other drivers can be responsible for causing an accident. Unsure of who is at fault in this type of accident? See our guide for more information.
Lane splitting is allowed in California
Because it is legal, motorcyclists who are lane splitting–under certain circumstances–have the right-of-way. That means if another vehicle collides with a rider or enters their path, the other driver is usually at fault for the collision. Ultimately, since each accident has unique fact patterns, an investigation will determine who is liable.
Accidents caused by motorcyclists
According to the law, lane splitting may occur on roads divided into two or more clearly marked lanes traveling in one direction. The law allows motorcyclists to travel between lanes when it is safe to do so– unfortunately, there is no clear guidance on what constitutes a safe situation. There are also no limits related to motorcycle speed when lane splitting. Traveling above the speed limit is likely to be considered unsafe, but outside of that, riders do not have specific limitations. This is true even when traffic, due to congestion, is moving well below the speed limit. The bottom line is that if a motorcyclist is driving in an unsafe manner when lane splitting, they could be legally responsible for causing an accident.
Accidents caused by drivers
Not all lane-splitting accidents result from the acts of a motorcyclist. Some collisions occur because negligent drivers fail to see motorcycles. This is common when a driver attempts to change lanes without signaling and strikes the motorcycle as they travel between lanes. If a motorist is negligent in causing a crash, they could be liable for the damage.
Talk to an attorney about your motorcycle accident
If you’ve been hurt in a California lane-splitting collision, contact us at Salamati Law for a free consultation. A motorcycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles can investigate your accident, attempt to settle your case, or file a lawsuit on your behalf. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.